The following letter was received from Tea Party organizer and House of Delegates candidate Patrick McGrady:
Since July 2005, the Harford County government has levied an Impact Tax on every new home construction permit. The idea of the Impact Tax seems noble enough- the money raised from the tax goes into the Harford County Public Schools Capital Budget account so that it must be used only for new school development, property acquisition, or school renovation. These homebuyers are being unfairly double-taxed, this tax is keeping productive construction projects on hold, and this is keeping hard-working Harford County workers out of work on and State Unemployment rolls.
Here in Harford County, we pay property taxes at the County and municipal level. On a home that is assessed at $250,000, the annual County portion of taxes amount to $2,705. This tax amount is the property owner’s share of the County Government, including school construction. They move here and are willing to pay this amount, growing at 5% per year. Why should we burden them with an additional tax assigned to them before they get here?
The damage that this “Home Buyer’s Tax” does to the thousands of Harford Countians who want to buy homes in the county is far greater than the benefit provided to the HCPS Capital Budget. Without this tax, we will still build new schools, and we will still borrow money through bonds to break up the payments over time. The “Home Buyer’s Tax” was imposed only four years ago as a knee-jerk reaction to budget crisis. It is no longer needed.
Supporters of this legislation will challenge the repeal bill as hurting our children. As a former HCPS student, I know that our teachers, students, and facilities are great. I have no doubt that the HCPS will continue to be great without this tax. When people move here, they pay property taxes – that is their portion of the school construction cost.
This Tax isn’t about schools; it’s about jobs. Our plumbers, electricians, drywallers, roofers, and general contractors are starving for work and this tax is keeping them hungry. Repealing this tax is a great way to stimulate the local economy with no cash outlay required.
I fully support making people pay for costs that they incur. For example, if a new home being built on a farm requires water, sewer, and road construction, there should be a tax levied on the owner to pay for it. But this tax is simply an arbitrary one-size-fits-all approach to generating infrastructure revenue and should be repealed.
Please join me in calling for the Harford County Council to pass Bill 09-29 to repeal the Home Buyer’s Tax. The tax is as unfair today as it was four years ago and repealing the tax will create jobs for Harford County. We will be holding a Tax Repeal Rally at the Council Chambers before the County Council meeting on October 20th starting at 6:00PM.